Graduate Programs Brochure

brochure cover: Elliott School Graduate Programs

If you are looking for a vibrant academic community — one with a global perspective and a commitment to the public good — then look no further than Washington, DC, and GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs.

SPS Research Institute

Institute for Security and Conflict Studies

Security Policy Studies M.A. Program

photo: Joanna Spear
Joanna Spear, Program Director

Security Policy Studies (SPS) is a policy-oriented master's degree program focusing on international security issues, with a particular emphasis on the security challenges for the 21st century and how to respond to them. These challenges include but are not limited to: weapons of mass destruction proliferation, transnational threats, terrorism, changing regional power dynamics, weak and failing states, international crime, effectively linking security and development, and ensuring U.S. national security.

The curriculum provides strong grounding in the national security and defense policy-making process. Students choose two specific concentrations — which can range from transnational security issues to conflict resolution to defense analysis. Students also have the option of emphasizing a particular region, such as East Asia, the Middle East, or Latin America, by selecting a regional field as one of their two concentrations.

The program's faculty includes internationally recognized authorities in international security, defense policy, foreign policy, the national security policy process, and regional and transnational security issues. Through its academic and professional skills development courses this program can open doors to future employment in the security policy institutions of the federal government, in the private sector, in international organizations such as NATO, and in the many think tanks and non-profit institutions engaged in security policy work.

Recent Events Videos

screen capture: H.E. Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Indonesian President Urges Major Powers to Resolve Differences Amicably

September 26, 2014

Stressing how much his country has benefitted from times of peace, His Excellency Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia, asked the U.S. to advocate for diplomacy and global alliances, especially as it tries to pivot its attention toward Asia.
» Watch the video

In the News

Pentagon Signals Security Risks of Climate Change

October 13, 2014

Professor Marcus King discusses the links between climate change and national security in the New York Times, following the release of a Pentagon report that asserts that climate change poses an immediate security threat.

Security studies master’s programs prep grads to defend national security

September 22, 2014

The Washington Post quotes Joanna Spear about Elliott School's Security Policy Studies (SPS) master’s program.

Obama Wants Congress' Support On ISIS, But He May Not Need It

September 09, 2014

Stephen Biddle says he doesn't think that the White House is "inclined to go to the Congress for some sort of declaration of war or new authorization for the use of force" in this story for NPR.

SPS Program Brochure

download the security policy studies program brochure